Business

Twitter boss Elon Musk has backpedalled after publicly mocking an employee on the social media platform. 

Twitter worker Haraldur Thorleifsson wasn’t sure whether he had been sacked by the company after finding himself locked out of his work computer, along with 200 others.

Unable to get a clear answer as to whether he was still employed, he tagged Musk in his tweet.

“Your head of HR is not able to confirm if I am an employee or not. You’ve not answered my emails. Maybe if enough people retweet you’ll answer me here?” he wrote.

A surreal Twitter exchange with Musk ensued, as the Twitter boss quizzed him about his work and questioned his disability and need for accommodations (Mr Thorleifsson has muscular dystrophy and uses a wheelchair).

Musk said Mr Thorleifsson “claimed as his excuse that he had a disability that prevented him from typing, yet was simultaneously tweeting up a storm”.

Mr Thorleifsson clarified that he is able to write for an hour or two and tweets on his phone as he can type with one finger.

He also said that as a senior director his role was strategic and managerial, and accommodations had not been a problem in “Twitter 1.0” (before Musk’s takeover).

Musk also tweeted that Mr Thorleifsson has a “prominent, active Twitter account and is wealthy” and the “reason he confronted me in public was to get a big payout”.

While the exchange was going on, Mr Thorleifsson, who goes by the nickname Halli, said he received an email saying he was no longer employed.

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2:02

Elon Musk’s Twitter takeover started with mass layoffs

However on Tuesday Musk had a change of heart.

“I would like to apologise to Halli for my misunderstanding of his situation,” he tweeted.

“It was based on things I was told that were untrue or, in some cases, true, but not meaningful.”

Musk indicated Mr Thorleifsson may not be leaving the company after all, saying he is “considering remaining at Twitter”.

Mr Thorleifsson, who lives in Iceland, has about 151,000 Twitter followers.

He joined Twitter in 2021, when the company acquired his start-up Ueno.

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